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Lower power rates seen next month
Meralco vice president and head of corporate communications Joe Zaldarriaga said preliminary assessment points to a reduction in Meralco’s overall rate in March bills.
STAR/File

Lower power rates seen next month

Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) - February 26, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The power rate in the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) franchise is expected to go down next month mainly due to the refund ordered by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

Meralco vice president and head of corporate communications Joe Zaldarriaga said preliminary assessment points to a reduction in Meralco’s overall rate in March bills.

“Currently, we are still awaiting the final bills from our power suppliers, but based on initial projections, there is a strong likelihood that power rates for March 2021 will go down, as this will be the second consecutive month of decrease for the year,” he said.

The Meralco official said the assessment factored in ERC’s approval of the P13.89-billion refund to Meralco customers over two years.

“Notably, the March power rate will already include the average refund rate of P0.1528 per kilowatt hour (kwh), as part of Meralco’s Distribution Rate True-Up,” Zaldarriaga said.

Last week, Meralco said it received a copy of ERC’s Jan. 27 order granting its application to issue a provisional authority to implement the refund in approximately 24 months starting March. The refund rate will be reflected as a separate line item in the bills of the customers during the refund period as directed by the ERC.

This projected decrease in power rates will continue the downward trend in the cost of electricity, with overall rates having decreased by more than P1 per kwh since the start of 2020, Zaldarriaga said.

Meralco’s overall rate this month for a typical household decreased by P0.0704 per kwh from P8.7497 per kwh in January to P8.6793 per kwh, equivalent to a decrease of around P14 in the total bill of residential customers consuming 200 kwh.

It said this month’s overall rate is also P0.1830 per kwh lower than February 2020’s rate of P8.8623 per kwh. The lower rate is mainly attributed to the decrease in generation cost, pulled down by lower fixed charges from the Power Supply Agreements.

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